This Chinese startup's electric SUV is a lot cheaper than Tesla's

This Chinese startup's electric SUV is a lot cheaper than Tesla's

This Chinese startup's electric SUV is a lot cheaper than Tesla's

The ES8 starts at 448,000 Chinese yuan (US$67,765), which is half the starting price of the 836,000 yuan (US$126,470) Model X in China. Those who choose to choose to save money can also opt in on a battery charging plan with a rental subscription set at only $181 a month.

The ES8 uses NOMI, an AI system that controls several functions in the vehicle, including taking photos and climate control. It can accelerate up to 62 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds and customers can place orders through an app.

As for technology, the ES8 boasts autonomous technology - named Nio Pilot - which sees 23 sensors and four exterior cameras work together, allowing the auto to drive itself when activated, similar to Tesla's Autopilot tech.

The startup plans to build more than 1,100 power-swap stations in China by 2020 and have more than 1,200 "Power Mobile" service vehicles.

In October, China's Ministry of Commerce confirmed that Tesla was negotiating with the Shanghai government to build a production facility in the country after reports surfaced that Tesla and the Shanghai government reached a deal to establish a wholly owned electric-vehicle factory in the city's free trade zone. "It's hard to say", Li said. The ES8 can be charged at stations that will allow the batteries to be swapped in only 3 minutes while a mobile service also travels to vehicle owners who need to charge their cars.

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NIO President Lihong Qin told CNN his company plans to "target the middle class in the big cities in China", predicting that market will double in size in the next four to six years. Recently, NIO launched a battery swapping process that takes just three minutes, a similar idea to the one Tesla explored but never pursued further.

It is also planning to offer mobile charging with vans equipped with battery packs and on-board chargers.

NIO, formerly known as NextEV, is among several startups to have sprouted in China in the wake of introduction of incentives for new-energy carmakers to help cut reliance on imported oil.

Li said a better understanding of Chinese consumers was expected to give domestic carmakers an edge when competing with companies such as Tesla.

Nio is considering a US Initial Public Offering next year, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. "If we can be ourselves and we do what we think is right, we will have our market share".

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